Skip to content

Surveillance and the soccer-mom

10 March 2019

Forwarded, and to be forwarded:

Many of you know that I have been helping out for the last few months at the Benedictine Monastery, the site that Catholic Social Service’s Casa Alitas  (DONATE HERE... my note), which has had the opportunity to operate out of in its mission to receive asylum seekers, provide them a safe space to land, food, clothes, supports, etc. until they can get to the sponsors who are receiving them in various cities across the country. This hospitality process, I might add, costs the government and US taxpayer $0, and is funded by the love, sweat, tears and good hearts of the Tucson community and beyond.

The other night, I was leaving later in the evening, having spent hours after the intake process to updates room assignments, travel information, reset the room for the next day, etc. I was tired. I was headed home about two hours later than I had promised my family, and I was feeling stressed and guilty about the fact that it was yet another night that I had to lean on my partner to do dinner, homework, and the nighttime routine of getting our kiddos down for the night and ready for the next day.

As I stepped down the long hall toward the exit, I heard loud raised voices and quickly realized a makeshift soccer game was in progress between three boys. They were about 8 or 9 years old, laughing and lost in their game. For a second, I nearly pulled on my mom voice to scold them about kicking a ball in the hallway, the realized that a) there was nothing they could harm in said hallway and b) they were probably having the first bit of fun they had had since being in detention. I continued down the hall through their game and said nothing, smiling at them instead.

As I got further down the hall, I heard them kick the ball- not a real soccer ball, but a smaller rubber ball- and knew it was headed my way. I saw movement as the person up ahead of me moved to intercept it, and realized that it was their mother. She was laughing and smiling, as lost in the game as they were, and I realized that she was experiencing freedom along with them. How many of us mothers hear the constant “mommy, play with me!”? She was playing with them, and happy to be doing so.

I could hear the ball getting closer to me, and she sped up, sticking her leg out to shift the ball’s course. We both glanced down together at her leg- her to direct it where she wanted the ball to go, me to make sure that I wasn’t going to trip over it (though it wasn’t going very fast).

That’s when I saw it. The ankle monitor, hanging off of her delicate, capri-clad leg. It looked so foreign, so out of place, that I couldn’t wrap my head around its presence. We both stared at it, and it looked like she was also having trouble understanding why it was there, as if she had forgotten about it, if only for the length of a hallway soccer game.

Then she seemed to remember, and she jerked her leg back. The ball went past me, out of her reach, and she stumbled over to to it. I could tell she was embarrassed.

But I was also embarrassed. I wish I could explain to this young soccer mom why or how she was so dangerous as to require 24-hour ankle monitoring. There is no good answer for that, and I think we both knew it.

I kept the smile on my face, seeking out her eyes to let her know that she had no reason to be ashamed. But she never looked up, never looked back my way, determined not to meet eyes. I was the one who sat there, ashamed.

That shame followed me to my car, on the drive home, and all the way to the my home, where my own children greeted me with, “Mommy! Come play with us!” as they sought to evade bedtime.

It sits with me still, and I really can’t figure out a way to expel it. So I hope that my efforts, and all the efforts of those who are working to confront this shameful reality, these murderous and deadly border policies, will move us to a world where soccer moms don’t wear ankle monitors, and we stop pretending that refugees are the ones who should be ashamed.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cynthia L Watson permalink
    11 March 2019 9:28 am

    Speechless and sad in Salado, TX.

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: